Open Questions and the Reality of ESP

It’s an obvious question, but one not often asked, how does parapsychological research offend the evolutionist or materialist mindset?  Certainly bold statements are made, but where is the real area of offense. One of the critiques most often leveled at research into anomalous perception centers around the idea that researchers in this area of experience posit some sort of supernatural origin for these phenomena. However, if you read what many of the top researchers relate, there’s nothing supernatural about psi.

Russell Targ, one of the founders of the SRI Remote Viewing program, in his most recent book The Reality of ESP, states very plainly:

“I do not believe that ESP has metaphysical origins. I believe that is is just a kind of ability we strengthen by expanding our awareness to think nonlocally. It will become less mysterious as more of us become more skillful.”

The excitment of parapsychological research is the challenge of coming into the next phase of our understanding the world around us. Skeptical psychologist James Alcock is right that we must keep in mind the so-called ‘null hypothesis,’ the idea that the massive amounts of data collected amount to nothing more than statistical artifacts and methodological error. However, we still need to account for the data that has been collected over 130 years of research, and do so in a non-dogmatic way. At this point there is too much evidence for it to be swept under the rug, and anyone who says differently should consult the literature.

How does one sit in on a Remote Viewing seminar, see people accessing information outside of their supposed sense reach, and not want to look into the phenomena further? It’s not about proving super powers, but honestly understanding conciousness and our place in the universe. As Targ says, you don’t need a statistical P value to know that a drawing done without any viable stimulus for the source, as happens in Remote Viewing, is on target and requires further investigation. He goes further in his book with:

“For me, questioning reality and the exploration of psychic abilities is the essential next step in the greatest opportunity we have as a species – the evolution of consciousness.

I believe that we have completed our physical growth; our brains are big enough. I am proposing that transcending our own species is the next evolutionary step for us to take. We started first as animals looking for food; then we advanced to moderately self-aware humans trying to understand nature; and now we are finally ready to meet our destiny as beings aware of our spacious and nolocal consciousness, transcending space and time and accepting the gift of psychic abilities. The suffering, wars, and confused search for meaning  we are experiencing as a species are all manifestations of our inner selves sensing but not yet quite grasping our true nature. Our hardware is fine; it’s our awareness of our psychic software that must be upgraded – and quickly, given the critical state of affairs.”

These statement’s aren’t coming from a street corner psychic, Targ’s work on developing laser guidance systems for NASA and Lockheed Martin earned him awards, and his basis for saying these things is his direct experience researching anomalous perception for nearly 40 years.  Critics need to recognize that those standing on the side of parapsychology are often those making a difference in the sciences, whereas biased skepticism fills the ranks of career debunkers and media pundits, not those at the forefront of research.  Scientific inquiry is moved forward by open-minded investigations of the available data, which should never be skewed by dogma to fit anyone’s point of view.  Nor should the data be treated as a nuclear spill that needs to be cleaned up post haste.

It’s critical that people begin to realize that this inquiry extends beyond fluffy pseudo-science and metaphysical speculation. The most interesting areas of investigation lie in the hard sciences, because it is here that the data which has been amassed in parapsychology can truly begin to entwine, and enhance, data being gathered in other fields.

Agree or disagree with these positions, you can’t deny that science is about questions, investigation, and exploration. The data is there, why is there such a stigma in terms of researching it, when there is obviously something so exciting that needs to be addressed. Whether you are a skeptic, believer or experiencer, everyone eventually has to  address The Reality of ESP.

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    My theory is that they are repressed theists. Or Atheists with left over baggage from Theism, so its like they believe but don’t want to believe. IME a lot of strong atheists are former evangelicals.

    So they’re like “What? Psi? That’s that spiritual bullshit! I am not into that. One step in that direction and its a slippery slope to Fred Phelpsville!”

    But anyway I met this chick that identifies as an atheist and is totally into paranormal stuff. There really is no logical reason for these spheres of Science and paranormal to be mutually exclusive. I think when you get involved with studying consciousness, though it could lead to a form of Pantheism.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    My theory is that they are repressed theists. Or Atheists with left over baggage from Theism, so its like they believe but don’t want to believe. IME a lot of strong atheists are former evangelicals.

    So they’re like “What? Psi? That’s that spiritual bullshit! I am not into that. One step in that direction and its a slippery slope to Fred Phelpsville!”

    But anyway I met this chick that identifies as an atheist and is totally into paranormal stuff. There really is no logical reason for these spheres of Science and paranormal to be mutually exclusive. I think when you get involved with studying consciousness, though it could lead to a form of Pantheism.

  • alizardx

    Lots of religious certainty going around these days in places where faith has no business, and any area where the tools of scientific inquiry can be used is a place where faith should be left behind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

    I once had a strange dream, that I realised the thing that we all are. A towering mass of intellect and gross biology, struggling to understand itself, each of us tiny as cells.

    • Ted Heistman

      Sounds like Alex Grey could paint that dream!

      • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

        Lol, I see what you mean. I can still see it clear as day though. Maybe I could transmit the data to an accomplished artist :) It reminded me alot of how a shoggoth might look actually. I’m just not sure how you might convey withnessing another’s inward sight.

  • bobbiethejean

    “How does parapsychological research offend the evolutionist or materialist mindset?”

    It’s very simple: You can’t !@#$%^&ING PROVE IT. This shit does not stand up to any kind of scientific real, genuine scrutiny. It ALWAYS breaks down at repeated testing and the peer review process. You can’t test it, you can’t make predictive models based on it, you can’t falsify it, there’s no proof, there’s not even anything that really counts as evidence- that’s what we find offensive; people claiming this shit is definitively real WITHOUT ANY supporting evidence.

    Besides, if ESP were a reality, don’t you think there would be some fucking repercussions for that? There would be “NO PSYCHICS ALLOWED BEYOND THIS POINT” signs all over the place, especially in banks and casinos. People would be employing psychics en masse. It would be a crime to use psychic abilities to read people’s minds without consent or there would be a lot of hooplah to make it a crime. There would be products to protect people against psychic intrusion…. products that are ACTUALLY PROVEN to work, not those stupid fucking bracelets and necklaces they sell in corner stores. There would be psychic-help chains that are as big, noticeable, and prevalent as Burger King and Mc Donald’s.

    There would be people in jail for committing psychic crimes. There would be government administered psychic tests. There would be precautions taken to ensure students with psy abilities could not cheat on tests. We’d be teaching it in school because. There would be testable, verifiable facts that everyone would be expected to know. There would be courses on it probably all the way from 10th grade to college, serious courses that explore the mechanics behind how it works. It would become an actual branch of knowledge and people would be using it to change the world, ya know, kinda like how scientists used chemistry to make plastic and cure polio. I can keep going. If this shit were a reality, it would be, ya know, an actual fucking reality.

    If it’s a REALITY, as you clowns insist, then why isn’t any of this true? Why isn’t psychic phenomena changing the world? Why isn’t the world populated with “NO PSYCHICS BEYOND THIS POINT” signs? Why aren’t there widely agreed upon, proposed mechanisms behind how ESP functions? Why doesn’t it stand up to repeated testing or peer review? Choose anything that is considered a reality and I will show you how it is ACTUALLY a reality and why psy phenomena should not be considered such.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

      “There would be courses on it probably all the way from 10th grade to college, serious courses that explore the mechanics behind how it works.”
      So… which course did you take on the subject that enabled you to have such a firm and emotionally invested viewpoint about it? If there are no “courses” about how it works, how are you able to make a decision about it’s existance at all? From what knowledge and experience are you speaking from? Or have you just read a bunch of other people’s opinions on it, picked the one that fitted your ideal of the world the best and integrated it into your sense of ‘I’ without due research so that mere contention of your worldview becomes a matter of personal pride, preservation of identity and worse…. undermining your sanity and basic survival?
      Maybe there’s a reason so many people have no conception of psi phenomena and become indignant and downright aggreessive about it. If it ever happened to someone such as yourself I doubt your inflexible worldview would be able to accept it, and you woud probably drive yourself crazy with self-doubt within a week of the experience. Who knows… maybe your intolerance is good for you. And just maybe I’m the asshole for trying to break it down.

      • bobbiethejean

        [So... which course did you take on the subject that enabled you to have such a firm and emotionally invested viewpoint about it?]

        The course was called “Reality.” I also took one called “How not to be a gullible, credulous fucktard,” and “Bullshit-recognition 101.”

        [From what knowledge and experience are you speaking from]

        From the knowledge and experience that if the supernatural actually existed, it would probably not be so big a point of contention as it is. Not very many people contest that air exists or gravity or that the earth is round and revolves around the sun. Those that do are, with good reason, FUCKING LAUGHED AT BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID.

        [Or have you just read a bunch of other people's opinions on it]

        It’s not my opinion, it’s observable reality. I live in a non-magic, non-supernatural reality. Until someone can actually demonstrate psychic abilities in a controlled setting where they CANNOT cheat or manipulate the results, it’s bullshit. Besides, don’t you think if it was real, there would be people in jail for committing psychic crimes? Notice the lack thereof except in 3rd world shitholes where they still think things like cancer and TB are caused by witchcraft.

        [become indignant and downright aggreessive about it]

        Personally, I have no tolerance for bullshit, bullshitters, stupidity, and dishonesty which are what really lie at the heart of this debate. How many false psychics have been busted? Been caught manipulating results or worse, manipulating people who are in vulnerable emotional states? There is a reason that James Randi prize hasn’t been collected yet.

        [ I doubt your inflexible worldview]

        You assume my world view is inflexible. It is not. I simply have higher standards than you do. To me, belief is a very valuable thing. I’m not going to dump it around all over the place just because it makes me feel nice. If I do come to believe something, it is because it has met some VERY specific, harsh standards. Maybe you like floating through life in a cloud of credulous, gullible whimsy, sucking in whatever nonsense happens to tickle you fancy at the moment, but I prefer reality.

        [maybe your intolerance is good for you]

        Like I said, I’m not intolerant; I just have high standards for what kinds of things I place my belief in.

        • alizardx

          Another faith-based viewpoint viewed from.

          • bobbiethejean

            Faith means believing in shit without evidence or proof. Evidence and proof are exactly what I require to believe in something. Calling my viewpoint one of faith is ludicrous.

          • alizardx

            If you are trying to qualify as a poster child for ludicrous, you are doing well. Anyone who screams when advocating a “rational” viewpoint has achieved EPIC FAIL.

          • bobbiethejean

            Says the person who has ( 1 ) failed to put forth any actual argument and ( 2 ) started slinging around ad hominems. I think the epic fail here belongs to you.

          • Ted Heistman

            So, if you overherard a person say “I get bad vibes from that place…” or something like that. You conclude they are simply a “Fucktard” ? Just wondering.
            I look at this kind of like creating a character for an RPG. You know how people have so much of this and so much of that. Maybe you have like 0 psi. But like high analytical. Others are more balanced. But maybe some are the opposite porportion and navigate through life almost entirely on the basis of feeling and intuition.

          • bobbiethejean

            “Bad vibes” is just a phrase. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything psychic. Hell, I use that phrase. However, if someone legitimately thinks they are divining “psychic vibes” from something, I’d sure as hell like to know how they are doing it and if they can prove it.

            Feeling and intuition are not psychic. Feeling and intuition are based on empathy, experience, intelligence, and a host of other explainable, physical phenomena. Psychic implies some sort of extraordinary perceptive capabilities such as the ability to know things that could not be known through the other five senses, telekinesis, or clairvoyance. And no, I don’t assume people are fucktards. :P

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Why do they have to prove it? Doing it and proving it are two different things. I mean that’s like saying if you can slam dunk a basketball it doesn’t count unless you can explain how to do it to a Klutz.

            I think a lot of people when they say they are getting “bad vibes” or “good vibes” are actually sensing vibrations that communicate information to them.

          • bobbiethejean

            There is no mystery behind how a basketball works. Even if klutzes cannot “basketball” themselves, they will have no trouble believing that a basket ball can bounce, deflate, be thrown, land in a basket, and roll away. Psychic phenomena has yet to be demonstrated in any provable way.

            Why do they have to prove it? Because they are claiming that they have magical abilities. Should we not expect people to prove claims they make? Why believe people are communicating psychically with their environment when we have natural explanations for bad vibes? Evolutionary programming, human nature, experience, intuition, empathy, intelligence, observation, logic, among others, explain why people sense “bad vibes.”

            There are people SOLIDLY convinced I am clairvoyant, precognitive, and psychically empathic. Why? I can read people’s expressions and body language and instantly know certain things about them. I am very good at predicting outcomes based on available data. I excel at extrapolating. I am very observant. Within five minutes of conversation with me, people usually reveal at least three to five things about themselves without realizing it. It’s not magic. I’m not psychic. Yet people see it as magic because they can’t (or don’t know how to) do these things.

            Does that mean I’m saying there DEFINITELY is no such thing as psychic phenomena? No. That would be a positive assertion and if I were to make that claim, I’d have to prove it. I can’t prove there is no psychic phenomena. However, I can point out that it has never been proven and so far, we have naturalistic explanations for most of what people perceive to be psychic phenomena.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Well here is the thing- I think its quantum entanglement. So that’s my explanation. We are all connected. That’s my explanation for how I can tell if people are staring at me and even, weather its because they want to bang me or mug me or that they just admire my clothing.

            If I sense a person walking behind me is looking at my wallet and probably wants to pick pocket me, then I will back into a wall and let them pass me by. If I am at a party and I feel a woman is sending me sexual energy, I might strike up a conversation with her, try to pick her up. I pick my shots that way.

            If I sense a group of young ruffians spoiling for a fight I avoid walking by them. I can feel the violent energy emanating from them. So to me it feels like energy. You might say its all in my brain and its based on me being good at reading facial expressions, but it doesn’t seem to fit my experience.

            Anyway, all this psychic stuff is about me hooking up with people or avoiding getting robbed or getting my ass kicked. There is nothing particularly “spiritual” or “religious” it might be “magic” or “magik” in a way. But I am interested in scientific explanations for it. I think they are there to be found. That’s why I am interested in Metacalfe’s stuff.

          • bobbiethejean

            Quantum entanglement just describes how particles are linked in such a way that their quantum state can affect the quantum states of the other linked particles. As far as we know, quantum entanglement does not extend into the macro world. In other words, things in our big fat world do not play by the same rules as things int he quantum world. This is why a “theory of everything” is so hard to come up with. Reconciling the rules that govern the micro and macro worlds has proven very difficult for scientists.

            [If I sense a person walking behind me is]

            That’s psychological. You’re picking up on cues, possibly without even knowing it. She’s raising her eyebrow a little, licking her lips, batting her eyelashes, leaning towards you, playing with her hair, touching herself subtly on her wrists or neck and drawing attention to sexual areas of interest. You may not even realize it but your body is picking up on these cues. That’s intuition and empathy at work, even if subconsciously.

            [If I sense a group of young ruffians spoiling for a fight I avoid walking by them.]

            That’s classic intuition and experience at play.

            [But I am interested in scientific explanations for it.]

            I highly recommend studying psychology and specifically, body language. You will find some fascinating stuff in there.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Yeah, I know what the Planck scale is. I am saying our brains operate partly on a quantum level and connect with each others brains in that way.

            Human being exist through the scale from micro to macro.

          • bobbiethejean

            Interesting conversation indeed. I hope you don’t mind if I poke you a little further.

            The molecules of our brains operate on a quantum scale, yes, but every atom in your body will eventually bugger off and be replaced by a different atom. This happens surprisingly often. Also, there’s no saying whether or not brains can interface in any meaningful way just because of quantum entanglement. You and I might share an electron that is quantum entangled but how would our brains make use of that electron? And further, how would we prove that our brains were doing so? What would happen when the atom containing those quantum entangled electrons buggered off? Would it take our “psychic connection” with it?

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            That’s what people are trying to figure out. Check out Metacalfe’s other post. He has some good references in the comments.

            One thing I do know isThere have been documented studies of people using telekinesis to create quantum effects. It defied probability.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            And yeah, poke away. I love interesting conversations!

          • Andrew

            > every atom in your body will eventually bugger off and be replaced by a different atom.

            I’ve read that several times, but I’ve never seen any scientific proof of it. What’s your source?

          • bobbiethejean

            Uh, how about the well-known, massively documented, and globally accepted fact that it is a FACT? Or how about the fact that it actually has practical application, it is falsifiable, testable, and forms the basis for many predictive models which scientists use to bring us modern technology and scientific understanding? I see what you’re trying to do and it’s a valiant effort but you’re going to have to aim for something that isn’t a well established, provable fact.

          • Andrew

            Calm. The fuck. Down.

            I don’t know exactly what you think I’m trying to do, but I’d honestly like to see some of that documentation because I find the assertion hard to believe and would like to learn more. Is that an invalid motive in your opinion?

          • bobbiethejean

            Sorry. I perceived that as a sarcastic attack.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

          Oh christ are we really gonna have to dance around the logic forest on this. If you don’t mind I’d like to skip to what I consider the main meat of the issue. If I came forward and said that I have direct experience of this, telepathy/remote viewing blah blah has actually happened to me, I live in a reality where all this shit exists for me in a very real, experiential manner, would you just automatically dismiss me as a liar? Or would you accept that I believe in my reality just as much as you do in yours, as conflicting as they may appear to be? Humans on the whole I agree are manipulative, untrustworthy, self-interested. Just because someone’s telepathic doesn’t mean they’re not an asshole. But it seems unfair to dismiss everyone on the actions of a few.
          The fact is your viewpoint is extremely damaging (especially when put forward so aggressively) in ways you can’t imagine to people who experience psi, as you have no experience of it you cannot be blamed for not realising, blind idiot gods of chaos that we all are. Regardless of the validity of the experience, these events are essential to my life as a creative and content person. The worst thing I’ve ever experienced is to have it defined in modern medical terms, that it doesn’t exist, that I’m simply insane, delusional, it’s all just bad chemicals, shut up and take your pills. To have all that mystery and beauty stripped away, the excitement of discovery of new experience shattered and replaced with an unsatisfying world filled with fear and uselessness. The world becomes grey and flat. The ultimate isolation. Like every decision you ever made (and you will have made some very important life changing decisions) was based on a lie, the product of a disease. I wish you could understand how horrible it is. It’s like having something vital torn from you.

          • bobbiethejean

            [f I came forward and said that I have direct experience of this, telepathy/remote viewing blah blah has actually happened to me]

            If I came forward and said I have direct experience with invisible, hippos that sprout wings and fly (but only when no one is looking…..Yeah. You can make claims all you want. It’s on you to prove it. But hey! Maybe you really did go through some legit experience. You still probably won’t be able to replicate or prove it so you can’t expect me to take your personal, subjective experience as gospel.

            [But it seems unfair to dismiss everyone on the actions of a few.]

            I’m not even really dismissing the possibility. I fully admit I could be wrong. At this moment in time, such claims have utterly failed to stand up to any scientific rigors and they’ve failed to show themselves in any way that can be easily observed. It could exist but if it does, I’d need to see it.

            [To have all that mystery and beauty stripped away, the excitement of discovery of new experience]

            See, this is where we differ wildly. I don’t see the world as being gray and flat and uninteresting because of a lack of supernatural elements. I think the universe is infinitely interesting and strange and perfectly beautiful in all it’s natural splendor. I guess it’s all just a matter of perspective.

            The bottom line of what I’m saying, no matter how I may come across, is this: Maybe supernatural elements do exist but if they do, show me. Prove it. If you can’t, you shouldn’t expect me to necessarily believe your claims because I don’t know if you’re lying, hallucinating, misperceiving, deluded, or legitimately experiencing supernatural phenomena.

          • JVally

            Threedinium, are you arguing that PSI exists for some people and not for others and that we cannot measure this effectively? Not trying to fight like bobbiethejean here (and dude, chill out–my default opinion is that this is all nonsense, but you don’t have to shout about it), just trying to get a sense of the claim. My understanding is that we still don’t, after decades of research, have clear, repeatable examples of Psi phenomenon. There could be many reasons for this. Only a very, very few people actually possess the ability, it’s all a fantasy, it’s such a tiny, intermittant nascent ability in most humans such that it is extremely difficult to measure (though if this is the case, it would seem as if no one would ever get the feeling that they were psychic), etc. Or, of course, there’s the option I think you just stated, where some people are psychic, but it’s a phenomenon that only they and other psychics experience…which would necessitate some very strange ontology to make sense.

          • bobbiethejean

            Unlike you, I have no patience for bullshit and I’m not going to be nice to people who are being purposefully absurd.

          • JVally

            Well look, if you’re not going to be nice to them, and you KNOW they are not going to change their minds (especially if you are not nice to them), then why bother to engage? I mean, you come off sounding like Mabus (the notorious troll on skeptical/atheist forums). If I am confronted with nonsense, I’m just as easily pissed off as you, but I’m not going to go looking for it and then flip out. If you want to engage and learn (even if all you learn is more about how people you disagree with come about constructing their belief systems, something that I think is genuinely valuable), then do so, but save angry polemics for your own writings or when the nonsense comes stalking after you (had any fun visitations from missionaries lately?)

          • bobbiethejean

            Hum……. fair enough. Good points. Can’t argue really. I have no idea who Mabus is though or how I compare to him.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

            We do have repeatable examples of psi phenomenon. If it’s a scientific analysis you want I’d highly recommend you take the advice of others in this section and research the literature on the subject at length, as I lack a scientific background. If it’s personal experience you want, these things can be learned, to a point. May I recommend first learning how to lucid dream with a good friend and agreeing to meet within dreams. I myself have recently undertaken the same project with a friend of mine who is living overseas, and although she is completely new to the concept of lucid dreaming we are alerady beginning to see some interesting results.

          • JVally

            Fair enough. It could well be that I simply have not encountered examples in the literature. My understanding has been that most claims of reliably repeatable psi phenomenon have evaporated under continued experimentation (one of my sources on that, the work of Susan Blackmore…are you familiar? I suppose it could always be claimed that she is simply lying or willfully ignoring evidence, but that cuts both ways and doesn’t really get us anywhere). There is always the argument that PSI phenomenon are so intermittent as to be barely perceptible by normal statistical techniques, but again, that would seem to make it highly unlikely that anyone would have ever picked up on their existence.

            Anyway, I have had some very interesting experiences involving drugs and ceremonial magick in my time that I think partake of the same quality of your lucid dreaming experiences (I DEFINITELY want to work on the lucid dreaming…I’ve never been particularly successful with that). Still, it has always seemed that any corroborating evidence mined from these experiences falls short of proving something extraordinary really happened. It’s so easy to fool oneself, especially while in a visionary (meditative, magickal, etc) state of consciousness. Have you had any results from these dreams that could really hold up? For me, hypothetically speaking, I would need some greater bit of evidence that say, my dream partner and I both dreaming of a red car or something like that. Many objects appear frequently in dreams and dreams themselves can never be properly rendered into language in their totality, so it’s very possible you could have extremely similar dreams that were, nevertheless, not the SAME dream. Now, if you and I agreed to meet in the dream world tomorrow night, and then write down our dream the next day and email it to on another the next afternoon. And in that dream (as I experienced it), you handed me a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Cat”, and I found this exchange in your account as well, I would be very much inclined to believe something weird was going on…but not convinced. If we could repeat the experiment many times, each time your handing me some book, or piece of music or exotic object, and it turning up in both accounts the next day, I would be much more convinced. If the exchanged objects were of entirely randomn categories (to prevent my brain from making a good guess at what your interests are and likely choices of dream objects), I would be much more so convinced. Any results approaching that?

          • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

            If I am not mistaken, I think I see fundamental differences in our style of experimentation. I’m not hugely accomplished at lucid dreaming yet myself, but I consider it one of the least harmful ways of introducing the curious to “that weird stuff”, but if you are falling short on ‘extraordinary experiences’ with this method, allow me to suggest another. Most of the experimentation I have done has been around groups of people or in very intimate one on one circumstances, and the effect is much more powerful. Sex can be an excellent facilitator to the psychic experience, especially when you’re completely off your tits on LSD and in love. If you have been comfortable enough to experiment with psychedelics and you are familiar with meme theory, you might understand why I am hesitant to describe my experiences in detail as you seem like you might be serious about trying this particular method out if it were suggested to you.

            The ‘greater bit of evidence’ though you are looking for we both have experienced in large doses, some of them are even daily events, especially when heavily engaged sexually and emotionally, and we are able to duplicate results sober in less exaggerated forms (except direct word transmission – experienced once, unable to duplicate). To go through every event in detail would probably mean writing a book. I also feel like I should attach some sort of disclaimer at this point as well – this is yours and someone else’s mind, body and possibly their soul you are dealing with. It’s highly personal, and is best not forced. But without another person you absolutely trust to talk through the experience with afterwards, you will never have any way of really knowing if the experience was shared or not. If you were to come back after trying it out for yourself and still have nothing extraordinary happen to you… well…. I take my hat off to you sir. You’ll be the first person I’ve met to have failed.

    • Chris

      1. Your view fits the prototypical materialist scientist view. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, for science has granted us humans with boons to make our lives easier, but you must understand that materialistic science, while extremely effective in analyzing objective data, has no jurisdiction in the realm of subtle affairs (by subtle I mean issues pertaining to consciouness and the spirit). Perhaps you have once wondered who or what is operating the vessel you call your body, directing the actions you call your own. Perhaps you are convinced that what you call waking consciousness is all that reality is. If you subscribe to that gross, materialistic view, no wonder you have trouble accepting phenomenon that is outside the scope of empirical science.

      2. There is nothing but consciousness all around us. We are mere vessels pervaded by that infinitely subtle essence which the Hindu yogis call “Brahman”. I have no intention of writing a metaphysical treatise on the defence of this concept, for all attempts to conceptualize the transcendent utterly fails. Knowledge of Brahman is not known experientially through the gross physical senses, but is apprehended only through proper meditation. This is the reason there are no “repercussions” as you put it–simply because knowledge of the transcendent is outside the scope of the average human. When the mental faculties are tuned to perceiving the unity of Brahman (and such a revelation is on par with nirvikalpa samadhi, nirvana, enlightenment, rapturous contemplation of God, &c, for all these terms refer to the same state), that is when the mind is opened to experiencing “extrasensory” perception (of course, there are those special humans who for whatever reason are tuned to psychic phenomenon a priori without intensive preparation or whathaveyou. (added note: there aren’t any psychics running around and screwing people over because knowledge of the transcendent obliterates any traces of materialistic greed and selfishness–symptoms that are all too common in our contemporary consumerist society–yet another reason why it is so hard to accept knowledge of the transcendent)

      3. I can already anticipate the counterpoints you might be formulating as you read this relatively long comment. It is for that reason that I would like to point you towards esteemed sources that will corroborate my views. It will be up to you to follow through and read for yourself what vast repositories of knowledge humanity has stored for the inquisitive learner. Of course, it matters very little to me whether you follow through or not, nor will I forcefully assert that your position is absolutely wrong and you must change; that is not for me to decide. What I can do is point the way for you to open your mind and become more tolerant of phenomenon that lies outside the scope of materialistic science. I consider myself to be a scientist, and I am both astounded and pleased by the knowledge uncovered by our cutting-edge technologies and brilliant men and women striving for truth. However, material science is only one side of the coin and therefore only one way of understanding the world; the flip side is the realm of spirituality and the study of humans as spiritually evolved creatures. There is no contradiction; there is no reason for such a heated fight between these two methods of knowing. Anyway, I hope you have the time to look into the sources and authors that it has been my pleasure reading and understanding.

      The Upanishads–(hindu mystical treatises on the nature of Brahman (god) and the self (atman)
      Joseph Campbell (renowned anthropologist, mythologist, lecturer)–The Hero with a Thousand Faces, The inner reaches of outer space
      Aldous Huxley–The Doors of Perception, The Perennial Philosophy
      Corpus Hermeticum–Hermes Trismegistus
      William Blake–anything really. He was the first real western mystic and remains incredibly influential even today

      For an added challenge you can try reading James Joyce’s Ulysses although I cannot guarantee you will come to any decisive conclusions for it is not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination.

      Honestly, that should be enough to pull you over for quite some time. Professor Joseph Campbell is especially illuminating; I suggest you begin with him. There are many, many more sources to be found and much knowledge to be gained. I wish I could guide you on the right path but sadly I cannot. I sympathize with your objections but as I have hopefully demonstrated they are quite unsubstantiated. As the article has said, explorations into the realms of consciousness should not offend the sensibilities of a rational, materialistic mindset; rather, it should inform and supplement it as another form of apprehending the majestic world around us.

      Peace be with you.

      • bobbiethejean

        I’m not going to deluge you with counterpoints to the LARGE amount of text you shat into that text field ( :P )but I will say this: prove it. Don’t give me a bunch of wishy-washy, feel-good, hippy Jesus Christ talk. Give me evidence. Give me something that can be tested, falsified, predicted, and understood in a meaningful way such that it comes to improve humanity. Show me something real and tangible that isn’t questionable and doesn’t have a known naturalistic cause.

        • Ceausescu

          Dude, you want evidence that demonstrates you have a limited world view ?

          No matter how evident it might appear, you have to experience these ideas in order to understand them.

          Also, the author is stating that there is vast scientific literature on psi. Go look for it. Don’t expect to get spoon fed with evidence after you bashed the article.

          What you’re doing right now is nothing more than reinforcing your limited worldview. And guess why you do that. Because you know you could be wrong, and you really don’t want to be wrong. At least your ego doesn’t want to. And you suppress the part of you which can experience a larger perspective.

          If you want hard evidence of the existence a perspective other than the regular, problem-solving everyday state, eat some mushrooms. That would be a good start.

          • bobbiethejean

            [Dude, you want evidence that demonstrates you have a limited world view ?]

            That’s extremely stupid. When an atheist, scientist, or skeptic demands evidence of something, it’s not because they have a “limited worldview,” it’s because they aren’t gullible, credulous fucktards like most people who will believe anything that makes them feel nice.

            [Also, the author is stating that there is vast scientific literature on psi]

            Anyone can call anything science. That doesn’t make it science. All those things have FAILED the peer review and scientific testing processes. If it can’t be tested, falsified, and made the basis of predictive models, science CANNOT say anything about it.

            [Don't expect to get spoon fed with evidence after you bashed the article.]

            That’s exactly what I expect because that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do when you’re making a claim. Anyone can make any ridiculous claim and you expect me to believe it by default!? That is idiotic in the extreme.

            [What you're doing right now is nothing more than reinforcing your limited worldview]

            By demanding evidence? By your standards, cops shouldn’t look for evidence because they’re just reinforcing their limited view. Scientists shouldn’t look for evidence because it’s just reinforcing their limited world view. Skeptics shouldn’t ask questions or demand evidence, they should just accept the patently ridiculous claims people make as true.

            YOU are the one who is reinforcing your limited worldview but not asking questions.

        • John Davis

          bobbiethejean:

          I believe you are absolutely right here!

          Psychic functioning is usually very personal and is contained within the psychic’s mind – no one else can experience what that person is going through. No one else can hear the messages or see the information that they are receiving through their sixth-sense..

          This is a big problem – 99% of psychic’s operate in this personal, mental arena, which no one else can experience.

          What the scientific world and skeptic’s MUST seek out is Physical Mediums – Mediums who’s abilities can be seen, felt, heard, and smelled by everyone in the room – all participants can experience the phenomenon together!

          Physical Mediumship is however exceedingly rare..

          Enter the Physical Mediumship Robin Peter Foy – He has developed a way for ANYONE to generate Physical Mediumship results.

          His five year Scole Experiment which ultimately lead to the creation of his Physical Mediumship Protocol – Is THE tool which will unlock Physical Mediumship, and provide the world with direct, physical evidence!

          Once again, with this new protocol – anyone (not just natural medium and natural psychics) can produce tangible, physical results at home..

          The ultimate realization of physical mediumship is this: Your dead relatives standing in front of you, in full light, conversing with you, and being able to physically hold and touch them.

          How’s that for a tangible results?? See Tim Coleman’s Afterlife Investigations on YouTube.com for more information about Robin’s work.

      • JVally

        As a less fanatical response to this: I’m familiar with the texts you reference and I’ve experiences the reality of universal consciousness, directly, many times (via drugs, admittedly, though I’ve gotten close with mediation and chanting, etc, a few times). It’s a very powerful experience, but I still see no way for me to know, with any certainty, that what I experienced exists objectively. I’m not so much offended by claims like what you’re making as left disappointed, since I can find no way to square this particular circle. What answer have you found that is satisfactory? If it’s just your personal experience of far out states of consciousness and your readings of the Upanishads and Campbell, that’s great for you, but it doesn’t really count as evidence for me. Have anything else?

        • Ceausescu

          I have something else for you. Try harder.

          “If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else,
          it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits.
          There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond
          them.”

          – Bruce Lee

          • bobbiethejean

            Bruce Lee was an atheist, genius, for one thing, and for another, try thinking for yourself rather than surfing the internet for other people’s thoughts.

          • Ceausescu

            Yes, he didn’t believe in an institutionalized God, but he was very much aware of the transcendental capabilities of the human consciousness. That’s because he was into Buddhism, Taoism and probably other eastern philosophies.

            You don’t have to believe in any God to experience a perspective other than your everyday, problem-solving mind state.

            Like you, I am trying to reinforce my own perspective on the world. But I’m always open to interesting ideas and perspectives. Sadly, yours are obsolete for me.

            There you go, I found an interesting article on psi phenomena on Psychology Today.

            This is an excerpt from the article which I find very relevant to our discussion:

            “Such trippy time effects seem to contradict common sense and trying
            to make sense of them may give the average person a headache, but
            physicists have just had to accept it. As Dr. Chiao, a physicist from
            Berkeley once said about quantum mechanics, “It’s completely
            counterintuitive and outside our everyday experience, but we
            (physicists) have kind of gotten used to it.”

            So although humans
            perceive time as linear, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is so. And as
            good scientists, we shouldn’t let out preconceived beliefs and biases influence what we study, even if these preconceived beliefs reflect our basic assumptions about how time and space work.”

            And this is the link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-thinker/201010/have-scientists-finally-discovered-evidence-psychic-phenomena

          • JVally

            Care to elaborate on that?

          • Ceausescu

            You could first try to realize what’s causing you to remain skeptical. Then see what proof would be good enough to lose the skepticism. And then look for the proof.

          • JVally

            Well, the main thing that makes me skeptical is several centuries scientific evidence that weighs pretty heavily against Idealism (using that in the philosophical sense–you have described a universe that is pure thought and immaterial, so, Idealism). The best logical arguments for Idealism were put forth by George Berkeley and they make sense, to some extent. But part of the problem is that if you define everything that exists as pure thought, then all the interactions of matter, all the laws of scientific materialism are also encompassed by this and you end up with one substance called “mind” in place of one substance called “matter” and you don’t get the benefits of mind as a substance in juxtapostion to matter (i.e. dualism, which carries problems of its own).

            But I know that you’re probably not coming from that tradition, but the more eastern or gnostic tradition that takes Idealism not on faith, but as a result of experiment. Mystical experiences inform you, DIRECTLY, that the world is this way. I know, I’ve been there. It’s AWESOME. But there is nothing about that experience that tells me that I can, with any confidence, say that the experience truly reflects the way the universe is, “in itself” (to go all Kantian and stuff) and not just the universe as constructed by my brain. I’m not even sure what sort of experiment–even hypothetical–that I could construct to test this, but there sure is a mountain of evidence on the side of the “just in the brain” hypothesis that would have to be outweighed somehow to make me shift my guesses…

            Sorry, that was longer than I expected

        • bobbiethejean

          I hope you’re not referring to me as fanatical just because I’m not a credulous git and I demand evidence of outlandish claims.

    • Tunsa

      This comment is a perfect example of the type of fear and prejudice that continues to supress the actual science going on related to PSI. Targ’s book provides a significant discussion of the scientific background for his claims and the practical applications of the work that he did with the US Intelligence Agencies. There are too many people who refuse to read the literature and explore the data for themselves. Too many people hold on to their simple understanding of the sciences and deny that evidence exists.
      We’re not talking about pink elephants or flying hippos. We’re talking about controlled experiments done by scientists with impeccable credentials. We’re talking about repeated results indicating that PSI exists and is useful in life. We’re not talking about some sci-fi fantasy world like the world described by the original poster. If you are educated in the ways of scientific methodology and analysis, you can read the research papers – otherwise, you could read The Reality of ESP.
      I doubt that the poster will read either of these because of the extreme fear that is expressed in his posting. So, for any reasonable person who is willing to entertain the scientific evidence, I would recommend the book mentioned in this article.

      • Ceausescu

        I agree with you.

        The author is, essentially, fearful of being wrong.

        • bobbiethejean

          I could say exactly the same thing to you.

      • bobbiethejean

        [We're talking about controlled experiments done by scientists with impeccable credentials.]

        No we’re really not. We’re talking about crack-studies, half of which have been debunked and the other half of which could never be repeated. I said it before, I’ll say it again: PROVE IT conclusively.

        • Tunsa

          And I still contend that you haven’t read the literature. If you did, you would know the evidence. Are you a PhD physicist who developed laser technology and then developed a training program for the US Intelligence Agencies? Targ is. I respect his credentials and the peer reviewed scientific articles more than your fearful need to rebut any comment that does not completely agree with your position.
          If you know scientific methodology and analysis, read the literature. If you don’t, I hope that you will find a way to come to peace with the fact that the world is changing and you will have to adapt. “We don’t have as many horses or bayonettes either.” Adapt, adjust, or just stay angry. It’s your choice.

          • bobbiethejean

            I would like to point out to you that merely having a PhD does not imply “always right and you should listen to everything I say on every subject matter.” There are PhDs out there who don’t believe in evolution or global warming. LOTS of them. PhD is just a degree. It can mean a great deal or it can mean very little. It depends on the person holding it.

            As to the “literature,” again, it has broken down consistently at the peer review process. And yes, I have read it and researched it, that’s how I KNOW it has broken down. Their results are NOT replicable. Their results CANNOT form the basis for predictive models. Their results CANNOT be falsified. Therefore, their results cannot be considered science. Who knows, maybe a new branch of knowledge will arise and such phenomena will be proven through it. However, I won’t hold my breath.

            We’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I have higher standards for evidence than you. Call me a doubting Thomas, that’s fine. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • Tunsa

            Your fear and lack of specifics would surprise me if it weren’t for the fact that I have heard this same trolling argument thousands of times. Attack the results. Attack the methodology. Attack the analysis. Attack the researcher. Attack the world. It’s a consistent mantra.
            What you are calling higher standards, I am calling ignorance of the evidence. I wouldn’t call you a doubting Thomas, but you’ll never see anything if you refuse to look. I’ll let you get the last word in if you want to reply. I will return to my research work to uncover the nature of the world rather than continuing to give you more words to attack. Have at it.

          • bobbiethejean

            [Your fear] I have no fear, just very low tolerance for nonsense and a very high standard of critical thinking.]

            [trolling argument] Trolling? Because I demand evidence for extraordinary claims? I fail to see how that makes me a troll.

            [Attack Attack Attack] And you’re not doing the exact same thing to me? You’ve accused me of trolling, you’ve accused me of being afraid, you’ve accused me of incompetence, you’ve accused me of being closed minded – none of which are true.

            [I am calling ignorance of the evidence] It’s not evidence enough. Science rejects it so there are only a few avenues left through which to prove it. Empirical evidence. I see none and I’m certainly not going to take someone’s word for it because anyone can say anything.

            [refuse to look] Refuse to look!? I spent my whole life looking and I never found anything because there is nothing there to find! Or if there is, I simply may not be capable of experiencing it. Ever think of that?

            [I will return to my research] And I’ll return to being a critical thinking, logical, empiricist skeptic with very high standards of evidence. Bye now.

    • David Metcalfe

      I just noticed this was actually addressed in some way to me! : ) At first I thought it was just a general comment, then I re-read and saw: “If it’s a REALITY, as you clowns insist, then why isn’t any of this true?”

      There’s quite a bit of scientific data out there, especially on presentiment, anomalous perception, RV, and poltergeist phenomena. Have you looked at the data in any of your research? This is an honest question, not meant to provoke. It would just be easier to know what parts of the data, meta-analyses, studies that you’ve looked at, and which of the researchers in the field you’ve corresponded with regarding their research, etc. to respond properly.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      Psychics do take advantage of their abilities. George Soros is psychic and uses his ability to be one or the richest men in the World. I think some gamblers are psychic (and a lot unfortunately think they are and aren’t)

      • bobbiethejean

        Please, please tell me you’re joking.

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          No. He has a Socrates thing going on. A daemon tells him if he is about to make a bad trade. He gets a pain in his back. It doesn’t tell him what to do only what would be unwise to do.

          Lots of people have experiences like this. Like “don’t eat that. Its bad for you” “Or don’t buy this car”

          And people often don’t listen. But often people do and they become more successful in life than people who don’t listen. My explanation is that aspects of our consciousness are tapped into something much greater than our limited ego concept of who we see ourselves as individuals. This acts as a filter for our experience.

          But often wisdom and knowledge of the greater consciousness bleeds through. Some people have a hard time reconciling it with their worldview. Theists don’t have a problem with it generally, because they have an explanation readily at hand that it was the voice of God. New Agers might attribute it to an angel or a spirit guide or a departed loved one.

          There is no reason to accept these as explanations. But I find no reason to deny the phenomenon just because some people say its God. I think its consciousness. I think Self awareness is partly our individual perspective and partly field like. Some times we receive input from the field.

          • bobbiethejean

            We definitely have different takes on reality. I am a strict rationalist and empiricist. I require evidence before I believe something, strong evidence, especially something that does not jive with my understanding of how the world works.

          • Andrew

            > A daemon tells him if he is about to make a bad trade. He gets a pain in
            his back. It doesn’t tell him what to do only what would be unwise to
            do.

            I’d like to read more about that. What’s your source?

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            You know I tried to google it and couldn’t locate it. But I have heard him say it and I have heard others quoting him twice. I was into Karl Popper for a while, I may have read it on something related to that. I will try to find the quote.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Ok, I just did a google search “George Soros, Back Pain” and found these quotes.

            “Robert Soros, 44, who once claimed his father based his trades
            not on grand theories like reflexivity but rather on his back pain,
            never shared his father’s enthusiasm for the markets. “When
            you’re a billionaire’s son, you’re less hungry than when you’re
            a Hungarian immigrant,” one former Soros Fund Management executive
            told The Times.”

            “Ultimately Soros founded his own hedge fund. Its investment
            methods ranged from thorough research to pure instinct. Soros once
            said: “… I suffered from back pain. I used the beginning of acute
            pain as a signal that in my portfolio that something was wrong.”

            Feel free to dig deeper. To me it sounds like a type of kineseological testing.

    • Clothilde

      @bobbiethejean:disqus

      You sir have painted some of the finest work i’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. You’re a freaking genius.
      As for psi…well, it can’t be proved but I’ve had a few things happen to me that have convinced me that there’s other stuff going on. I’m sure it’s purely natural stuff that we just haven’t charted yet.
      Maybe we never will. I don’t know. All i know is meditation tends to ‘open’ all this stuff up.
      I can testify that i’ve never won at the tables tho. And i can’t tell anyone’s fortune. If it was a puppy it’d pee all over the house and wouldn’t sit when it was told.

      • bobbiethejean

        Thank you. You’re very kind. ^__^ Is a girl, though, just so yeh know.

        I tend to think somewhat sort of along the same lines as you. I’ve been told outright that I am psychic and I have even scared two people into thinking I’m a witch (not on purpose). However I don’t believe it is magic. I believe my abilities are just a function of increased empathy, observation, experience, body language/facial expression-reading, and the ability to extrapolate.

        I’m a strict empiricist. To believe in anything supernatural, I’d need testable evidence but I’m not close minded. I absolutely admit that I could be wrong. I just tend to start from the null-hypothesis; that is, if someone makes a claim (like “I have psi abilities), I assume it is not true until proven otherwise. That doesn’t mean I think the person is necessarily lying, there could be a number of explanations. Anyway, that’s more or less where I stand on the issues.

        Thank you again. :) You’re very kind.

        • Calypso_1

          “scared two people into thinking I’m a witch”
          Are you sure it’s not the bathroom talks with Satan?
          ; )

          • bobbiethejean

            :P There are some people who think I actually think I’m talking to Satan. I’m not even joking. Some people have read my Satan conversations and concluded that I actually think I’m talking to Satan. One actually believed I WAS legitimately talking to Satan. When I told her I’m an atheist, she says, and I quote: I KNEW IT! You really are in communion with the devil! *facepalm*

        • John Davis

          Bobbiethejean:

          You should try remote viewing for yourself!

          It’s very evidential and extremely easy to learn. If you are naturally observant and empathic – then you are a perfected student for remote viewing.

          One peice of advice – if can convince a few friends to ‘try it’ as well – you’ll be able to compare results, and that’s where things get really interesting! Remote viewing is best done when multiple results can be compared against each other.

          Try it – you may just surprise yourself!

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I experience psi phenomenon. So its real to me. I am not so interested in proving it to people (that get reeeeaaaaaaaaallllllllllly emotional about it) but rather understanding how it works.

  • Vanessa Sherman

    Love it! I saved the right family secret for the right investigators! You guys got my
    twitter.

  • Tunsa

    David Metcalf has presented a clear and insightful message concerning his experiences working with one of the top Parapsychologists in the world. Russell Targ has impeccable credentials as a physicist, has worked with US Intelligence agencies for many years, has written numerous scientific works about the Remote Viewing program, and has trained literally thousands of people to do Remote Viewing over the past 40 years. I am impressed with the quality of Metcalf’s analysis and his ability to cut directly to the heart of the message.
    Keep up the great work, David, and everyone should consider getting a copy of The Reality of ESP by Russell Targ. It is an honest look at the science behind PSI.

  • Daryl

    @bobbiethejean:disqus You seem like a very angry and bitter person who isn’t very much fun to be around. Do you need a hug? Also, if you spent half the time actually researching psi instead of writing so many hostile and aggressive posts insisting that it isn’t real, you’d discover that the evidence actually does exist. You can start with the books of DEAN RADIN. He’s done the tests. It’s just that there are too many close minded aggro people like you who refuse to listen. You honestly think that just because we don’t have psychics winning the lottery or x-men style telekinetic street battles that it isn’t real? Did you ever stop to think that these are talents that need to be nurtured over time, much like artistic or athletic ability? Just because you can’t sing doesn’t mean others can’t.

  • Saggi

    I really didn’t believe much in ESP until I met someone who has it. It was a mind opening experience.

  • cmnshrink

    David, you have hit on the bottom line question, which perhaps needs to be answered before the acceptance of psi can go forward. Why ,indeed, is there so much resistance to the concept? I know there is not one answer. Obviously for some, it is just plain ignorance, but there are many who are aware of the literature, and still reject it. I see the potential for a possible research project here!

  • Michael Mayer, Ph.D.

    One problem with the scientific method is that it rests on a particular rule of the
    game that does not always fit all games of life. The scientific axiom says that the effect on a dependent variable by an independent variable must reoccur regularly as the independent variable is applied in order for the phenomena under consideration to be deemed reliable and valid. Speaking as one who has written three peer reviewed scientific research articles, I must say that the scientific method has its limitations in certain fields.
    In the realm of metaphysics, which most directly involves a quantum not a Newtonian reality, occurrences often take place in a non-linear, anomalous, acausal manner (Bohm, 1989; Chopra, 1990; Krippner et. al., 2000). In my most recent book, The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician, I tell stories about the anomalous experiences of my life that changed me from being a skeptic to reluctantly being a metaphysician.
    Michael Mayer, wwwreluctantmetaphysician.com

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